Of all the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Nigeria, that of Edo state is currently the most reported because of all the controversies surrounding it.
The incumbent Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, and the suspended chairman of the All Progressives Party (APC), Adams Oshiomole, have been at loggerheads for more than a year over the decision of Obaseki to cut the excesses of his former godfather, Adams Oshiomole.
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The crisis between these two reportedly came to a head when 15 of the 24 state legislatures elected in 2019 polls – who are also loyal to Oshiomole – were blocked from being sworn into legislative offices. This means that they won’t be able to legally sit to make laws in the state House of Assembly.
Moves by both the Senate and the House of Representatives to resolve the legislative tussle in Edo House of Assembly came to no avail. Even the effort by fellow governors, party chieftains and the president met with a brick wall as Obaseki insisted he could not initiate and issue a fresh proclamation which would enable the lawmakers who were left out to be sworn in.
What it Means: As all of these events unfolded, the implication of Obaseki’s struggle for freedom from his godfather, Oshiomole, meant only one thing: he stood the risk of losing the party’s gubernatorial ticket in the state. And he did lose the APC’s gubernatorial ticket because he was screened out of participating in the primaries because of alleged discrepancies in his certificates and credentials.
The disqualification of Obaseki from contesting the APC primaries was reportedly engineered by Oshiomole to spite the governor for disrespecting him. Interestingly, the decision by the Court of Appeal to affirm Oshiomole’s suspension as the APC chairman a few days after alternatively weakened Oshiomole’s political strength in Edo state.
As Obaseki has now officially cross-carpeted to the erstwhile opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo state last week after visiting some PDP governors and eminent persons in the South-South, he is seeking the gubernatorial ticket at the PDP primaries which has been slated for June 25.
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However, among other wars which he will have to fight remains the huge task of pacifying those who originally had the ambition of securing the PDP primaries ticket in the state.
A frontline candidate in the PDP, Gideon Ikhide, already stepped down for Obaseki; while another candidate, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, has secured an order from a Port Harcourt High Court which could prevent Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries this week.
The accelerated hearing adjourned till June 24 and the substituted service granted by Hon. Justice E.A Obile, could force the PDP to extend the date of its primaries until the matter is determined in court.
The Big Picture: If Obaseki is able to scale the first hurdle of representing the PDP, he will still have to deal with the national might and manipulations which were brought to bear in the governorship election in Kogi, Osun, Bayelsa and others.
Renowned political and traditional figures in Edo state already seem to favour Obaseki’s run for a second term in office. The former national chairman of the APC, John Odigie Oyegun, and the Oba of Benin, appear to ally with Obaseki’s vision of improving the fortunes of the state.
Bottomline: For Obaseki to have survived his rebellious moves against Oshiomole thus far, he alongside his erudite and loyal deputy, Phillips Shuaibu, might as well succeed in pulling very surprising strings in the Edo state elections coming up in September.
Featured Image Source: Daily Post NG
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